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The Social Game Craze

Social gaming is huge on Facebook and beyond. Now it’s big money, too. We look at the culture and business of social gaming.

Social Games

Social Games - Farmville site detail.

We all remember connecting with friends over a game of cards, Parcheesi or Monopoly. These days, games are more popular than ever—but increasingly they’re virtual and played on Facebook.

In the game “Farmville,” cartoon characters raise barns and harvest virtual crops. In “Sorority Life,” players collect housemates and buy the latest fashions.

And while they’re free to play, the small fraction of serious players who pony up cash for coveted virtual goods means the business of social games is booming.

This Hour, On Point: The big business and mass appeal of social games.

Guests:

Nick Wingfield, technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His July 30 article  on virtual goods is “First, Give Away the Game.”

Mia Consalvo, visiting associate professor in Comparative Media Studies at MIT’s GAMBIT Game Lab. She studies digital and casual games, new media, and women’s gameplay and is writing a book about Japan’s role in the gaming industry.

Frank Lantz, creative director and co-founder of Area Code, which creates social games for Facebook and other media platforms. He is also director of the NYU Game Center.

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